David Robertson's Sense Of History
When the Yankees were eliminated from postseason on Wednesday night, that made the Thursday night game against the Orioles Derek Jeter's last at Yankee Stadium. And all we wanted a little bit of history from the guy who has done everything he can not be historic (Keith Olbermann be damned). And thanks to reliever David Robertson, we got it.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 26, 2014
How big was this game? Bob Costas, the world's baseball historian, was asked to call the game. And then afterward, we found out this would be Jeter's last at shortstop. So with the stage set, the Yankees played the Orioles.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 24, 2014
In his first at-bat, Jeter smoked a double that would have been a homer in the majority of MLB parks. Damn, we wanted a homer, but Jeter's not a big homer hitter, at least not in months that aren't November. He followed up with a fielder's choice and a strikeout, and then came up in the seventh with the scored tied.
With the bases loaded, Jeter got an RBI by reaching on an error by JJ Hardy. And odds were good this was Jeter's last Yankee Stadium at-bat. Damn, that sucked. Sure he knocked in the go-ahead run, but an error was just too anti-climactic. Why couldn't it have been a grand slam? We all looked skyward and said, "Please, Baseball Gods. Send us a savior that will ensure one more Jeter at-bat." And they sent us Dave Robertson.
After an uneventful eighth, Robertson came in for the save with the Yanks up 5-2, and proceeded to pitch underhand. A walk to Markakis. A strikeout of De Aza. A two-run homer to Jones that left the field like a missile. A strikeout of Cruz. So with two outs, the score 5-4, and Jeter due up third in the ninth, thousands in attendance - and perhaps a million watching at home - hoped for a blown save. And Robertson delivered, giving up a 400-foot bomb to Pearce. So after retiring Hardy, the table was set. And not one Yankees fan booed Robertson.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) September 26, 2014
Okay, so as long as the run isn't scored in the first two at-bats, Jeter would come up with a chance to win the game. And that's all we had asked for. So anything else would be gravy, wonderful baseball-flavored gravy (just like Joe Girardi did during an in-game interview).
I don't know what's more impressive about Derek Jeter's career.... pic.twitter.com/dixsxZlGTm
— Logan Vignovic (@LoganVignovic) September 26, 2014
First, 30-year-old Antoan Richardson did his part by getting the seventh hit of his career, a single to right. And then Brett Gardner's sacrifice bunt moved Richardson into scoring position. And then we thought, "Oh hell, what if Buck Showalter intentionally walks Jeter?" No, no one would ever do that, not even Orioles' manager Buck Showalter, a man who famously walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded to preserve a win. So with Richardson in scoring position, the Orioles pitched to Jeter, and he slapped the ball into right field at Markakis, who fielded the ball and threw home immediately hoping to kill our dreams. But instead, Richardson slid home as the Orioles catcher misfielded the ball. The Yankees won on Jeter's walk-off single, and ensured that Jeter would have a winning season in every one of his 20 years with the Yankees.
We cheered. We cried. Thank you, Baseball Gods.
David Young has been a columnist for ESPN and Sports Illustrated, and is now one for SportsGrid.com. Follow him on Twitter @turkeysflying.
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